According to C. Wright Mills, what occurs in any one individual's life is interrelated with society as a whole. To possess sociological imagination as defined by Mills “To be aware of social stucture and to use it with sensibility IS to be capable of tracing such LINKAGES among great variety of milieux.” The sociological imagination helps give us the ability to understand the correlation of one's own biography, history, and traditions along with the knowledge of the social and historical influence society may have on that person or groups of people. Mills notion makes us want to investigate into an individual's biography and lifestyles, and place their findings within the surrounding circumstances in which events occur in order to see the whole picture of the society in which the individual lives.
In Lisa J. McIntyre’s case study titled “Hernando Washington” we read about a young man named Hernando Washington who kidnaps, rapes, and murders a 29 year old woman named Sarah Gould. When using the sociological imagination to look into this we ask questions such as, “What was the social milieu in which the event takes place?” and “what effects did the social system have on the individual?”. Asking these questions, we see that Hernando lived in an area where police activity was almost non existent. Hernando’s brother had been shot and sister had been raped with absolutely no police action ever taking place. This explains why Hernando thought he could get away with his actions. If all this could happen before then what would be wrong if he was the one who did it. We also see that Hernando viewed the rape he committed as sex. He thought that since Sarah was alone and with no male acomplise, it was ok for him to in his perspective have sex with (rape) her. The sociologists way of looking at what Hernando did doesn’t make did ok, but it does explain why he did it. He in his right mind with the situations he had been placed in during his life thought that this was ok...
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